Statistics about abuse, which are similar in churches and outside of churches, reveal that it’s very likely that every church community includes people who have experienced abuse; our congregations are filled with abuse survivors (whether we are aware of it or not). Yet church is often not an easy place to be for someone who has experienced this trauma.
We might imagine that a community filled with the love of Christ would be a wonderful context for healing, yet it isn’t always so. A recent article from Christianity Today Pastors highlights a few of the reasons why it can be difficult for those who have survived abuse to be in church.
We must ask ourselves: Do we want our church communities to be welcoming places to those who have suffered abuse? Do we long to see the transforming power of our Lord at work? Becoming a more welcoming and healing church community begins with us, seeking to understand. And this article below is a good place to start. It discusses practical ideas, including: build trust over time, preach about vulnerable people, honor families thoughtfully, remember that 'God's plan' is a difficult subject for survivors, and acknowledge the wounds caused by sin.
Many thanks to Rev. Colin Vander Ploeg in Classis Niagara for sharing this article with us at Safe Church, so that we can share it with you.